Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Legislature to hear three citizen-led initiatives amid debate on Police Pursuit, Parental Rights, and State Income Tax

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OLYMPIA -  Three citizen-led initiatives will receive hearings in this session of the Legislature, said Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, D-Spokane, and Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma. 

The Legislature will debate I-2113 on reasonable police pursuit, I-2081 on restoring parent’s “right to know,” and I-2111, on prohibiting a state income tax. 

“Washington voters will hear a lot between now and November on any initiatives that end up on the ballot,” Billig and Jinkins said in a press release. “It will be up to them to decide what sort of state they want to live in.”

If not adopted by March 7, lawmakers could propose alternatives to be put on the ballot in November.

Three other initiatives won’t get hearings in the Democrat-controlled Legislature and instead will go straight to the ballot this fall. They are I-2117, a partial repeal of the Climate Commitment Act, I-2109, a repeal of the capital gains tax; and I-2124, which allows people to opt out of Washington’s long-term care retirement program. 

Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, helped write the initiatives and advocated for hearings throughout the session. On his Facebook page, Walsh said:

“Resist tyranny. Do it happily. Our beautiful state deserves to be defended by free people. Peaceful non-compliance with bad government action is a powerful tool for change.” 

Walsh and other Republicans are not satisfied with hearings on just three of the initiatives. They said they believe the public deserves to hear the arguments by lawmakers both against and for the other three initiatives, particularly with capital gains and the Climate Control Act. 

“We are not going to have a hearing on the capital gains tax or the Climate Commitment Act repeal. Both of those will take our state dramatically in the wrong direction,” Billig said, adding the Democrats think that repeal of those two initiatives would be “devastating to the people of Washington State.”

Democrats say the capital gains tax repeal could take away $5 billion from early K-12 education.

Republicans reject that view.

“They're trying to fearmonger,” Braun said. “They're counting on you only hearing the word devastating, $5 billion, and not being experts.”

For the initiatives to become law, Gov. Jay Inslee does not need to sign them. Despite this, Insee offered his opinion on what he would do if initiatives came to his desk. 

“Life is too short to have to think about those difficult things,” Inslee said. “Obviously there are some I would not sign…there are some I possibly could sign…Is that sufficiently obscure?” Inslee joked. 

The Washington State Journal is a non-profit news website funded by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation.

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